Sunday, 25 July 2021

Croatia at Olympic Games: Rower Damir Martin into Semis!

July 25, 2021 - Rower Damir Martin won in his single scull quarterfinal group and advanced to the semifinals of the Olympic Games!

Martin completed the course in 7.17.71 minutes, leaving the Hungarian, Japanese, Peruvian, Czech, and Kazakh rowers behind by a minimum of seven seconds. In the last 500 meters, Damir practically rested and kept his strength for the semifinals, which are scheduled in three days, reports. HRT.

"I am satisfied with the race and I can say that everything went according to plan. I wanted to go at my maximum for the first 1500 meters to see how much I could and I did it the way I wanted. Now there will be a slightly longer break of two days, and the semifinals should start in three days. Bad weather is expected. The main goal is to recover well before the semi-finals because it will be a very difficult race," said Martin, who took silver at the Olympics in London and Rio de Janeiro.

"I go from race to race. I have one wish, and the current situation is good and I think I am going in the right direction to qualify for the finals. I do not deal with competition, I see that there are some surprises, but I do not have them and will not have them," concluded Damir.

Due to the announcement of a typhoon that could also affect the Sea Forest track in Tokyo Bay, the singles quarterfinal races were moved from Monday to Sunday, but that seemed to be in favor of our Olympian.

The weather forecast is closely monitored in the Olympic rowing program, new information arrives every six hours, so it is not possible to know for sure the date of Damir Martin's semifinal performance, but there is very little chance that it will be according to the original schedule - on Wednesday.

RESULTS, singles, quarterfinals, group 3: 1. DAMIR MARTIN (CRO) 7: 17.71, 2. Bendeguz Petervari-Molnar (MAĐ) 7: 24.63, 3. Ryuta Arakawa (JAP) 7: 26.04, 4. Alvaro Torres Masias (PER) 7: 31.85, 5. Jan Fleissner (CZECH) 7: 37.01, 6. Vladislav Yakovlev (KAZ) 7: 39.47.

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Saturday, 24 July 2021

Croatia Gymnastics at Olympic Games: Tin Srbić Advances to Final!

July 24, 2021 - Croatia gymnastics at the Olympic Games are off to a flying start, as Tin Srbić finally learned he would compete in the final on August 3, 9 hours after he competed on Saturday. 

Croatian gymnast Tin Srbić advanced to the final at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. He finished third in the qualifiers with a score of 14,633, reports

Srbić competed in the first subdivision, after which he took first place, but in the second subdivision, Japan's Daiki Hashimoto (15,033) and Kazakhstan's Milad Karimi (14,766) were better than the 2017 world champion. Finally, in the third subdivision, no one was better than Srbic; only the USA's Brody Malone came close, who finished fourth with a score of 14,533.

"It was quite tiring because we had to wake up very early, come to the hall 2.5-3 hours before competing, so part of the warm-up and waiting was quite tense. Nevertheless, I pushed through because, after all, this was my first Olympic appearance. But before the exercise itself, when I looked at the Olympic rings again, I said to myself, "well, I guess I won't be scared now." I used my head, and I did very well, and in the final, I will attack with an even stronger exercise," said Tin immediately after his performance. His coach Lucijan Krce added:

"I am satisfied with Tin's exercise; he had an excellent performance. Of course, we both felt the pressure of the Olympics, but he still managed to do a very good quality exercise and get a pretty high score."

The final, which is scheduled for August 3, will also include Russia's Nikita Nagonji (14,466), Japan's Takeru Kitazono (14,433), Australia's Tyson Bull (14,433), and Holland's Bart Deurloo (14,400).

There will be no Kohei Uchimura of Japan and Epke Zonderland of Holland in the final. Uchimura, who won gold in the all-around from London 2012 and Rio 2016, decided to compete in Tokyo only on the bars, but with a score of 13,866, he took 20th place and ended his career on Saturday. Flying Dutchman Zonderland, the Olympic winner in London, three-time world champion, and three-time world runner-up, took 23rd place with a score of 13,833.

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Saturday, 24 July 2021

Croatia Tennis at Olympic Games: Wins for Mektić and Pavić, Marin Čilić in First Round!

July 24, 2021 - Croatia tennis at Olympic Games -  a good start as Croatian doubles team Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić move to the 2nd round, as does Croatia's only male representative in the singles tournament - Marin Čilić!

Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić have overcome their first obstacle in the Olympic tournament. In the first round, they played against Marcelo Demoliner and Marcelo Melo and celebrated 7:6, 6:4. 

Brazilians Marcelo Demoliner and Marcelo Melo offered strong resistance to Nikola Mektić and Mato Pavić, but the Croatian pair was still better and took the deserved victory.

Mektić and Pavić are the favorites for gold, but surprises are not uncommon at the Olympic Games. 

The Croatian team was on the verge of losing the first set in which the Brazilians led 5:0, but by the end of the tie-break, Mektić and Pavić made it 8:1 and took the 13th game with 8:6.

In the second set, there were no breaks until the very end, when Mektić and Pavić reached 5:40 at 5:4. They had their second match point and advanced to the second round.

In the second round, they will play against the winners of Spain's Andujar / Carballes Baena and Italy's Musetti / Sonego.

Marin Čilić, the only male Croatian tennis player in the singles competition of the Olympics, advanced to the 2nd round with a big turnaround, defeating Brazilian Joao Menezes (ATP - 217th) 6:7 (5), 7:5, 7:6 (7) after three hours and 23 minutes of play.

Čilić finished the match with 12 aces, 12 double faults, and a first-serve percentage of only 54%. He made 49 unforced errors compared to Menezes' 27 and realized only five of the 17 break points he had.

Čilić's opponent in the 2nd round will be Spaniard Pablo Carreno-Busta (ATP - 11th) who defeated American Tennys Sandgren 7:5, 6:2. Čilić is 4-0 against the Spaniard in mutual matches.

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Saturday, 24 July 2021

Croatia Olympics July 24 Recap: Sinković Brothers Have Stellar Start, Tin Srbić Excellent in Qualifiers

July 24, 2021 - On the second day of the Olympic Games, Croatian athletes recorded great results. Here's our Croatia Olympics July 24 recap. 

Brothers Martin and Valent Sinković performed superbly to kick off their Olympic Games campaign in Tokyo. In the first race of the qualifying group, they won with a time of 6:32.41, which was 4.52 seconds faster than second-placed Denmark and 8.58 faster than third-placed Canada.

"We are generally satisfied with the race, but we definitely need to be better for the semifinals," said Valent Sinković.

Croatian gymnast Tin Srbić was excellent in the qualifying round, and with a score of 14,633, he holds first place. Two more subdivisions remain, and the final outcome will be known at around 3 pm Croatia time.

"This is one of the most difficult competitions in my career in terms of stress and tension," admitted Srbić.

Croatian table tennis player Andrej Gaćina (35) also successfully started his fourth Olympic Games campaign. In the 1st round match in the individual competition, he defeated Togoan Kokou Dodji Fanny 4-0 (11-5, 11-6, 11-3, 13-11).

In the 2nd round, Gaćina will play against a much more demanding opponent, the Frenchman Emmanuel Lebeson.

Croatian boxer Nikolina Ćaćić defeated American Yarisel Ramirez in the 1st round duel of the 57 kg category by a unanimous decision of the judges.

The 20-year-old Ćaćić is the first Croatian boxer to ever perform at the Olympic Games, and she recorded her first victory. However, she was not the favorite against an equally young American.

"This is just the beginning for me; I consider boxing a game, I am good at it, and I hope you will watch me for a long, long time. I am not thinking about the next opponent," said Ćaćić.

Croatian shooter Snježana Pejčić took 31st place in the 10-meter air rifle discipline. Pejčić recorded 622.6, which was enough for 31st place, but it was not enough for the finals.

"Not good, but not bad either. I think the result with which we entered the finals surprised everyone because it is a really high threshold. With 628 points, I was left without a final. Nobody knew what to expect, but the results are terribly high," said Snježana.

Kristina Tomić (26), a member of the Croatian Taekwondo team, was also unlucky. She lost in the 1st round in the category up to 49 kilograms to Colombian Andrea Ramirez Vargas.

Source: HRT

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Thursday, 22 July 2021

From Water Polo to Rowing, Will Fitness Trainer Pero Kuterovac be Behind Croatia's Olympic Success?

July 22, 2021 - Fitness trainer Pero Kuterovac is known for bringing Olympic medals to Croatia. Will he do the same this year for Croatia water polo and rowing? 

Pero Kuterovac is a great strength for the Croatia water polo team - and his qualities in the fitness training of athletes are known outside of water polo. Pero Kuterovac was directly involved in three Croatia medals in Rio, including Damir Martin, who later, according to one study, was the most prepared athlete in Rio. He also worked with boxer Filip Hrgović, reports Sportske Novosti

For Tokyo, Kuterovac is again involved in three sports, and only one change has occurred.

"Yes, I worked with water polo players again, as well as with Damir Martin, but now swimming is the third sport because I worked with swimmer Nikola Miljanić before Tokyo."

Before the Games, Kuterovac advocates the thesis that the best results will be achieved by those who are the best to adapt to the unusual circumstances and all that they bring in terms of compliance.

"It will be something we are not used to. Admittedly, behind all of us is a season in which we learned what it means to be in a bubble, under measures. However, our mentality does not allow some prohibitions. We are all professionals, and we will do it all. But when the Chinese are told they have to sit there for three days, they sit and do not move. With us, it's a little harder. However, there is too much in the game; these are the Olympic Games, for which water polo players have been preparing painstakingly hard. Just take that we spent seven weeks in preparation, there was so much torment and tears, but we knew why we were doing all this. Now we are all a bit nervous and crazy, but we will channel everything, endure everything, arm ourselves with nerves because we have a big goal ahead of us."

Kuterovac has experience with athletes from different sports. Can he say firsthand how much harder it is for water polo players to prepare for a big competition than others?

"Water polo is the most demanding team sport. First, there is the highest energy consumption, then everything takes place in water, and this is not a medium that is specific to man, and thirdly, there is a lot more to train here than with land sports. In some shock microcycles, we now know how to train for eight hours a day. First, there was gym, swimming, then water polo. It’s challenging, difficult, but there’s a goal above all; it's the biggest motivator for a serious athlete. It was not difficult for me to motivate them to work; they did everything to the maximum. I am delighted that no one had any problems with injuries, and I take credit for that because we worked very hard on prevention. Athletes don’t like to do prevention, those stupid and boring things, but I insist on that. Every lost day due to stretching can be disastrous for our ultimate goal. And that is always a medal for us."

What secrets does Pero Kuterovac use in working with the best athletes?

"I'm a little different than everyone here. I’m quite talented; I’d say creative in manipulating people; I get into their heads easily. For example, Andro Bušlje and Maro Joković are here with about fifty medals won. Still, with them, it is the same as when I work individually, for example, with Bojan Bogdanović, who earns a lot of money. And that makes me successful because emotional and social intelligence at this level of sport is more important than anything. And I'm pretty good at it."

You mentioned Bušlje, Joković, Bogdanovć; they all turned 30. Do athletes work more when they are older than in their formative years?

"That's right, and that's, unfortunately, wrong. When they suffer an injury, they are cathartic. In general, the body is such that when you are younger, you recover faster; you can not sleep all night and train normally tomorrow. When you get to some more serious years, it’s different. Contrary to some books, I think the first threshold for that is 27 years, and then comes the threshold of 33, 34 years. So there are already some things to do more and in more detail, to take more care of recovery, training planning is different."

Pero Kuterovac will be at his sixth Games in Tokyo. From Sydney until now, he has always been part of the Croatian delegation. How satisfied would he be with a medal in Tokyo?

"Somehow, I think there should not be less than five, and ideally, there should be eight. That’s my estimate, but I hope I made a mistake, and there will be ten like Rio. Five, I say, should be with us because we have some athletes who dominate, such as the Sinković brothers, Sandra Perković, and Tin Srbić. Something is always won in archery, now there is a chance in martial arts, and there is, of course, water polo. So five minimum, eight would be great."

And finally, what kind of Damir Martin can we expect in Tokyo?

"Damir had a severe hip injury; he was in surgery in Munich, after which it took nine months to recover. For him, the pandemic turned out well because if the Games had been as planned last year, he would not have been able to perform. Since January, he is completely ready in every segment; there is no pain, there are no obstacles. In some of our tests, he almost returned to the level he had in 2016 in strength, power, endurance, speed endurance. I am looking forward to Damir's performance, and I think it will be a very nice surprise."

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Thursday, 15 July 2021

Matija Marinić Released from Self-Isolation in Tokyo, Back to Olympic Training

July 15, 2021 - The best Croatian wild water canoeist, Matija Marinić, returned to the track where he is preparing to compete at the Olympic Games in Tokyo after two days of self-isolation.

Due to possible contact with a coronavirus-infected passenger on the flight to Japan, Marinić and his coach Stjepan Perestegi were initially prescribed self-isolation for a week, however, after their appeals and with the support of the President of the Croatian Olympic Committee Zlatko Mateša and the Ambassador of the Republic of Croatia to Japan Dražen Hrastić, the decision was changed, reports HRT.

Marinić was provided with training on the track at a special time in the middle of the day. Upon arrival in Tokyo, the term was used by the British, whose country is on the list of those epidemiologically high-risk due to the spread of the Delta variant.

"We are grateful to everyone who had the heart to change the decision that jeopardized my performance at the Olympics. The decision was also changed for athletes from Ukraine and Canada who were quarantined at the same time as us. We are now training at a special time, but we are still banned from going down to the restaurant where other athletes go. That's what we were looking for. We will respect everything so that I can train, and give my maximum on the track on July 25th. I believe none of us have contracted the coronavirus. We have been vaccinated and behind us are ten negative tests since arriving in Japan," said Marinić after the first training on the track after a two-day break.

Perestegi is also satisfied with the change in the decision.

"This is the best example that the fight for medals starts off the track - in our heads. When he felt that the entire Croatian public was with him after leaving the track, Marinić received an additional urge to win a place in the finals of the Olympic Games, and to do his best in the fight for the medal," Perestegi pointed out.

Marinić and Perestegi are staying in the hotel near the track where they train for a few more days. After that, they move to the Olympic Village. The Olympic Games open on July 23, 2021.

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Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Croatian Olympic Committee President Attacks Tokyo Organizers Over Marinić Isolation

July 14, 2021 - Croatian Olympic Committee president Zlatko Mateša has criticized the Tokyo organizers after Croatian canoeist Matija Marinić ended up in self-isolation. 

"The system in Tokyo is unsustainable, we ask the IOC to protect athletes," said the president of the Croatian Olympic Committee, Zlatko Mateša, after Matija Marinić, the first Croatian athlete to arrive in Tokyo for the Olympic Games, ended up in self-isolation, reports HRT.

The best Croatian whitewater canoeist came to Japan a week ago, and received the decision on Tuesday morning that he must spend the next week in quarantine. Namely, there was an infected passenger on the flight Marinić and his coach Stjepan Perestegi took to Japan.

Matija Marinić was vaccinated, he has no symptoms, and he has ten days of daily coronavirus testing behind him, eight of which he did in Japan, but still had to end up in self-isolation.

"This system is simply unsustainable. What is the benefit to an athlete staying in Japan and spending time in isolation, with a lot of testing and evidence that he is not infected? The Olympic Games have already been lost for our Matija Marinić, even if he performed at them, as planned from July 25. Who can compensate him for the years of training and preparation, effort and sacrifice that he invested for his first Olympic appearance?" said Zlatko Mateša.

"This is a glaring example of the inability of the organizers to deal with the problems associated with the pandemic. We ask the International Olympic Committee to protect athletes who prove their health status by daily tests and not to be subjected to such rigorous and unfounded measures, because then everything loses its meaning," the COC president added.

The COC appealed the self-isolation decision for Marinić, and the Deputy Head of the COC Mission Petra Nosso explained that Marinić and his coach Stjepan Perestegi were in self-isolation based on their seats printed on their airline tickets. According to them, they were sitting close to the infected passenger. 

However, as they did not sit in those seats in the end, they were quite far from a potential source of infection.

Nosso added that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is trying to resolve this case through talks with a partner organizer - the Japanese government, which in such cases should be above the authority of a particular prefecture.

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Sunday, 4 July 2021

Final Olympic Preparations: Matija Marinić, Anamarija Govorčinović, and Vanesa Tot Ready for Tokyo

July 4, 2021 - Canoeists Matija Marinić, Anamarija Govorčinović, and Vanesa Tot are ready to go to the Olympic Games in Tokyo. These three athletes will participate in the Olympics for the first time.

Marinić travels to Japan on Monday, and the other two athletes two and a half weeks later.

Anamarija Govorčinović is the first Croatian kayaker on calm waters to participate in the Olympic Games, and Vanesa Tot is the first Croatian canoeist to win a place in this prestigious competition. In addition, Matija Marinić will compete in the canoe slalom on wild waters, a discipline in which Croatia already had representatives at the Olympic Games.


"Seconds separated me from performing at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. Since I have been dreaming of competing in the Olympics all my life, I was pleased when I managed to qualify for the Tokyo Games three years later. I look forward to the race. I will do my best to win a performance at the end of the competition, and then anything is possible. I hope that I will return to Croatia with a medal," said 31-year-old Matija Marinić, who has his last training before leaving for the Japanese capital on the Zagreb part of the Sava.

His coach Stjepan Perestegi has high expectations for his performance at the Olympic Games.

"In recent months, Matija has shown what and how much he can do. He won gold in the race in Tacen and bronze in Solkan. Therefore, he goes to Tokyo extremely well prepared. We will arrive on the trail next week; we will work on technique and tactics. We met the trial at the end of 2019. It is an artificial track that is technically very demanding. Now we need to adopt it in its entirety, and Matija needs to work on concentration and visualization because one wrong move can take him away from the desired result," said Stjepan Perestegi.


He added that due to epidemiological restrictions, Marinić will not have strength training in the hotel next to the trail where he will be accommodated for the first two weeks after arriving in Japan, but that he hopes that this will not affect his physical condition. Perestegi reckons that the explosiveness he possesses will bring Marinić closer to the podium.

Twenty-four-year-old Anamarija Govorčinović also intends to do her best.

"Performing at the Olympic Games is my dream that will come true. I will give my maximum and hope for the best. I am aware of how strong the competition is there, but that it is not enough to achieve your best time for a medal. It also takes a little luck," said Anamarija Govorčinović during training in Zagreb.


24-year-old Vanesa Tot, who trains intensively for the Olympic Games in Slavonski Brod, failed to meet with journalists in Zagreb with Matija Marinić and Anamarija Govorčinović.

Members of the Croatian Kayak Association in Tokyo expect stringent epidemiological rules. Marinić and Perestegi revealed that they had already received detailed instructions on protection against coronavirus infection. Athletes come to Japan in groups every two weeks. The groups do not mix with each other, and athletes will be able to enter the Olympic Village only a week before the Games. They will measure their own temperature and enter data about it into one of two applications created for epidemiological reasons. Every other day, athletes will need to test their saliva to successfully prevent the spread of the infection in the event of a coronavirus outbreak.


The Olympic Games will be held from July 23 to August 8, 2021.

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Saturday, 3 July 2021

Judoka Ivana Maranić Receives Olympic Invitation for First Time at 29!

July 3, 2021 - Ivana Maranić received an invitation to Tokyo to compete in the Games for the first time at 29. The Croatia judo team will have three representatives at the Olympics for the first time in history! 

The International Judo Federation (IJF) sent an invitation letter to participate in the Olympic tournament to the Croatia national team member Ivana Maranić in the over 78 kg category, reports HRT.

Maranić, a member of JK Panda from Zagreb, was seventh below the line for participation in Tokyo on the first list of the IJF. Still, due to injuries and the cancellation of better-ranked competitors, she received an invitation for her premiere performance at the Olympics at the age of 29. Thus, for the first time in history, Croatia judo will have three representatives at the Olympics, before the right to participate was secured by the world champion Barbara Matić (up to 70 kg) and Karla Prodan (up to 78 kg), members of JK Pujanke from Split.

Maranić is the winner of the world junior bronze medal from 2010. She works with coach Goran Strmotić and welcomed the news from the EJU training camp in Poreč.

"Huge luck! So many different feelings and thoughts in my head! Proud, happy, excited. After so many challenges and work, performing at the Olympic Games will be the crown of everything," said Maranić.

Croatian judo was represented by Marijana Mišković (up to 63 kg) and Tomislav Marijanović (up to 81 kg) at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, and Barbara Matić (up to 70 kg) in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

Numerous Olympic, world, and European champions are preparing for Tokyo at the camp in Poreč. Along with Barbara Matić, the current world champion Belgian Matthias Casse is also looking to focus and polish his form for a quality performance in Japan. Furthermore, the current Olympic winners from Rio de Janeiro in 2016, Czech Lukas Krpalek and Slovenian Tina Trstenja, are in Poreč preparing to defend their gold, and the European champions Belgian Toma Nikiforov, Kosovars Akil Gjakova, and Distria Krasniqi want new successes in Tokyo. 

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Friday, 2 July 2021

Two Croatian Swimmers Secured Their Spots at OI Tokyo 2021

July 2nd, 2021 - Croatian Swimming Federation announced the two swimmers who qualified for this year's Olympic Games in Tokyo, Croatian swimmers Ema Rajic and Nikola Miljenic! 

Both swimmers have had a busy year of training and meets from the European Aquatics Championships in Budapest to the Croatian Nationals to qualify for the Olympics. 

Ema Rajić gained the right to perform with the achieved Olympic B norms result, with a 1: 08.17 in the 100m breaststroke and 25.96 in the 50 m freestyle. As no other Croatian swimmer qualified for the Olympics with the A norm, Ema Rajić gained that right as the swimmer with the most FINA points won this season. In an interview with TCN, Ema stated her next goal is to qualify for the Olympics 

Ema Rajić was born in 2000 in the States and is a student at Berkeley University, where she studies genetics and genomics. She has dual American and Croatian citizenship and has been swimming for the Croatian national team since 2019. Her home club is the Dubrava Swimming Club from Zagreb.

Croatian swimmer Nikola Miljenić, a member of PK Medveščak, swam the A Olympic norm in the 50 meters freestyle and secured a spot to the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Miljenić, for the first time in his career, went under 22 seconds in the 50 meters freestyle, which secured him a ticket to Tokyo. The Olympic A norm is 22.01, and Miljenić swam 21.95, improving his personal record by 27 hundredths, on the last day of the Golden Bear meet. 

Nikola Miljenic (23), born and raised in Zagreb, is a student at the University of Southern California (USC) majoring in international relations. He has been a part of the Croatian Swimming Federation since 2015. 

Earlier this week, the Croatian Swimming Federation has announced that, unfortunately, Franko Grgic and Marin Mogic will not be joining Ema and Nikola in Tokyo this summer due to injuries. 

We wish Ema and Nikola the best of luck in Tokyo this summer! 

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